Editorial: Yoga at CMHS a positive new treatment method
Published: Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 23:10
This semester Counseling and Mental Health Services at UConn began to offer yoga as an alternative treatment for mental illness. Described as yoga-based stress reduction, the class is taught by therapist and yoga instructor Elena Schreiber. This class compliments its other programs, such as group and individual therapy, which it offers at its new Arjona office. This method of treatment and its positive effect on improving one’s mental health has been supported in current studies, though it is still a relatively new idea in modern medicine. Most sources have concluded that it is beneficial for mild depression or sleeping problems. However, it still cannot completely replace therapy or medication solutions.
Instead, many are suggesting that it can supplement other forms of treatment, though more studies need to be done. Because yoga isn’t a strict science or medicine, companies are rushing to conduct large studies on the positive effects of yoga. This past January, Dr. P. Murali Doraiswamy with other researchers at Duke University Medical Center published a paper that took a closer look at more than 100 studies on the correlation between yoga and improved mental health. Many studies analyzed did not have a large enough sample size to be seriously considered, and Doraiswamy used the results from only 16 of them. The professor of psychiatry and medicine is pushing for a more large scale effort to verify the results of the smaller studies. As he said in an April article in the Los Angeles Times, “Overall, most studies seemed to indicate a benefit. If this were a drug in the early stages of development, every company would be drooling over it.”
Overall, the research is pointing towards yoga positively affecting those with mental illness. As Huffington Post has reported, yoga is now used with military veterans to reduce the effects of PTSD and anxiety after returning from active duty. The move to include yoga classes is positive for UConn students as yoga has been shown to improve moods and mental functioning, reduce stress and give those who practice it a better feeling of control. CMHS’s proactive measure will provide more options to those who seek treatment there, especially since the yoga has a focus on improved mental health.
Those interested in the program should contact CMHS at 860-486-4705 to register for a class and the required orientation. The classes are offered on Tuesdays from noon to 1 p.m. or Thursdays from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. and are located in the CMHS offices in Arjona on the fourth floor.